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Fulham away at Sunderland ~ Preview

last updated Friday 18th November 2011, 1:39 PM


Fulham manager Martin Jol
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Martin Jol
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Martin Jol
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BBCSport Both Sunderland manager Steve Bruce and his Fulham counterpart Martin Jol believe the overall performance of their respective teams this season hasn't been as mediocre as their current league positions would suggest, but the two men will also be acutely aware that success is measured in points rather than performance.

The grim reality is that either could find themselves in the relegation zone by Saturday evening after both have endured remarkably similar starts to the season.

Two wins, four draws, five defeats and 10 points are the bare statistics for both. A single home win was earned in convincing fashion - Sunderland thumped Stoke 4-0, Fulham hammered QPR 6-0 - before away successes against sides already mired in the relegation zone - Sunderland winning at Bolton, and Fulham at Wigan - kept them hovering just above the safety line.

Fulham can point to the fact they remain the only team to take a point off Manchester City this season and can recount hard luck stories experienced in the defeats against Everton and Tottenham. A draw at Liverpool and narrow defeats against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United suggest Sunderland probably should be higher up the table as well.

This is Fulham's 25th match of the season due to their commitments in the Europa League. Cottagers fans have relished their club's forays into Europe but may be frustrated that their team have won seven times - often against weaker opposition admittedly - compared to just twice domestically. Martin Jol has used only 20 players in the Premier League so far and it will be interesting to see how stretched their resources become.

The early-season pressure seems to have eased on Steve Bruce. He will have been heartened that the knee injury suffered by young striker Connor Wickham at Old Trafford should keep him out for weeks rather than months and must view this match and up-coming games against Wigan, Wolves and Blackburn as a real opportunity for his team to punch their weight. As defender Wes Brown put it this week: "it's time to man up".

    Head-to-head



  • Sunderland and Fulham have played exactly the same number of Premier League games: 391. Fulham have won 118 games to Sunderland's 103 and the Black Cats have lost 192 times compared with Fulham's 158.


  • Sunderland have failed to score in five of their last six Premier League matches against Fulham, including any of the last four.


  • But Fulham have only won two of their last nine league games against Sunderland - although they did win their last meeting 3-0 at the Stadium of Light.



  • Sunderland



  • Sunderland have conceded fewer goals than Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham this season.


  • But they have only kept one clean sheet in their last 13 Premier League games at home.


  • Four of the six goals scored direct from free-kicks this season have come in Sunderland matches: two for and two against.



  • Fulham



  • Fulham have won just 12 of their last 100 away matches in the Premier League - one of those was against Sunderland last season.


  • Against Tottenham, Fulham became the first side since the 2006-07 season to have 13 shots on target in a Premier League match and still lose.


  • Danny Murphy has been substituted in his last eight appearances for Fulham.


  • Fulham have used just 20 players in the Premier League so far, fewer than any other team.
























Source Nigel Adderley at BBCSport

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